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Tag Archives: Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel WIlkerson Describes Jim Crow Laws In The 1950s

In an Art Works podcast hosted by the National Endowment of the Arts, Isabel Wilkerson describes what life was like for African Americans at the turn of the century, at the beginning of the "Great Migration" from the southern states to the northern. It is almost hard to believe that we are only sixty years from this type of lifestyle:  "...many of us believe that we have an understanding of it based on the pictures that we might have seen of the black and white water fountains, for example. But in many ways, that was just the least of it. That was, in some ways, probably what many of them might have been able to live with, considering all that they were really up against. From the moment they would awake in the morning to the moment that they turned in for the night, there were... Read More →

We Can’t Get Enough Of Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale HurstonAs we wrote before, Isabel Wilkerson has been educating her fans on the impact of the Great Migration by posting stories of prominent African Americans to her Facebook page. Recently, she profiled Zora Neale Hurston, one of our favorite writers and one of the literary world's greatest treasures.  We loved what she had to say about Hurston so much that we decided to share it with you here: On this day, January 7, in 1891 or 1901, beloved author Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Ala., to Rev. John and Lucy Hurston. She grew up in the all-black town of Eatonville, Fla., and went north as a young woman, just as the Great Migration was starting during World War I. She attended what is now Morgan State University and then Howard University, where she got her first story published in... Read More →

What Do Berry Gordy, Jimi Hendrix, and Lorraine Hansberry Have In Common?

  The answer, as 2010 winner Isabel Wilkerson would like you to know, is that they are all products of the Great Migration. Over the past few months, Wilkerson has been sharing the stories of influential African Americans on her Facebook page, connecting the dots between the past and the present.  Take a moment to browse the stories and let us know: Did you know about this piece of history? Have you read The Warmth of Other Suns? Is it a book you'd recommend to others?  Also take a look at Wilkerson's "Democracy Now" segment, where she talks about the influences of the Great Migration, including it's impact on jazz music and Motown. Read More →

WE REMEMBER: August Wilson’s Play, “The Piano Lesson,” Debuted 25 Years Ago This Month

A photo from the 1987 premiere of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson."                     In our rush to get to Thanksgiving dinner, we missed the anniversary of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson." 2011 winner Isabel Wilkerson reminded us through a post on her Facebook page (she's just FULL of wonderful factoids about African American history), including a rare photo of Samuel L. Jackson (third from left), who starred in the play as Boy Willie.  Wilkerson writes:  It was 25 years ago today, Nov. 23, 1987, that the August Wilson play, The Piano Lesson, made its world premiere, starring Samuel L. Jackson (3rd from left) as Boy Willie, at the Yale Repertory Theatre. The play would win the Pulitzer Prize. In its scenes play out... Read More →

Isabel Wilkerson Greeted By Surprise From Fan In Her Hotel Room

                      Isabel Wilkerson posted the above photo and the following message on her Facebook page - seems she has a superfan out there!  Deepest gratitude at this special time to every person who has embraced this book and the inspiring message of the Great Migration. Filled with joy for whoever created what is shown in this picture: an edible edition of The Warmth of Other Suns created with love and care by an anonymous fan. This greeted me in my room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, where I was to speak in the City Arts and Lectures series. Neither the event organizers nor the hotel said they knew how it got there or who had gone to such trouble to create or commission it. However it got there, this... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Reaction To The Election

The 2012 election cycle was filled with a bombardment of political ads, 24-hour news cycles dissecting every possible angle, and an overwhelming sense of hype surrounding who will be our next batch of elected representatives. Some of our winners got in on the action and made a few comments about the election as well.  Junot Diaz, who has been writing consistently about the Latino effect in this year's election, wrote a special message on his Facebook page. "Obama WINS!" he wrote shortly after the race had been called. "The Latino community came out BIG for Obama. Very proud of my community, very proud of all the new voters, the very proud of all the Obama supporters who put in the time and the hard work to make this happen." Never one to shy away from his passions, David Livingstone... Read More →

VIDEO: “The Great Migration Is The Story Of Most African-Americans” – Isabel Wilkerson

A full two years after her acclaimed book, The Warmth of Other Suns, was published, Isabel Wilkerson continues to work hard on the promotion trail, working to raise awareness of the Great Migration and its impact on today's culture. "They changed American culture as we know it," Wilkerson says in this short interview during the 2012 Leimert Park Book Fesitval. "So much of what we think of as American culture is actually the culture of the people who did this (migrated). We're talking about Toni Morrison, who became a Nobel Laureate; we're talking about people like August Wilson, the playwright; Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote The Raisin in the Sun...we're also talking about music. Motown wouldn't have existed at all. Rock 'n' roll, as we know it, would not have existed." Watch the short... Read More →

VIDEO: Will We See A Big-Screen Adaptation of “The Warmth Of Other Suns”?

Interview with Isabel Wilkerson from Mayborn School of Journalism on Vimeo. To say there has been immense interest in Isabel Wilkerson's "Warmth of Other Suns" would be an understatement. She recently gave the ending keynote at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference last month, where she noted that she has been on the road promoting the book extensively since it was first released in September 2010. During the wrap-up interview, Wilkerson was asked if we might see her book on the big screen, similar to "The Help." Check out the video above for the answer as well as more on Wilkerson's process, her writing career and more.    Read More →

VIDEO: Isabel Wilkerson On The Great Migration

During a stop to the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, Isabel Wilkerson described her desire to capture stories of the Great Migration. It was a labor of love—more than a decade of researching, interviewing, writing, and rewriting to accurately capture the stories of African Americans who left the south for more opportunities and a better life in the North.  As Tavis Smiley says, "Everybody's talking about this now. But only because you had the discipline and courage and conviction and commitment to tell this story – a story that is at the very epicenter of what America is." Check out the video and let us know - have you read the book? What were your thoughts?  Read More →

Huffington Post Reveals 50 Books Every African American Should Read – How Many AW Winners Made The List?

Gwendolyn BrooksHuffington Post's Black Voices rounded up 50 books the editors think every African American should read (they added on Twitter that of course the list has value to everyone, but these books focus primarily on the black experience in America). We were thrilled to see how many Anisfield-Wolf winners were on the list, proving to us once again that our winners stand out in the crowded literary field.  Gwendolyn Brooks "Annie Allen" (1949) Edwidge Danticat "Breath, Eyes, Memory" (1999) Chimamanda Adichie "Half Of A Yellow Sun" (2008) Ralph Ellison "Invisible Man" (1952) Edward P. Jones "The Known World" (2003)  Alex Haley "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1987) Toni Morrison "Song of Solomon" (1977), "Sula" (1973) and "The Bluest Eye" (1970) Langston... Read More →
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